The university in Belarus has become a place where fear thrives, a place that tries to suppress students’ freedom and personal opinion. There are police at the entrances to HEIs. They monitor whether you are wearing national colours or planning to distribute leaflets in the university. The university in Belarus has become a primary high-security facility.
Universities in Belarus have become accomplices of the regime, and they are an essential element of the repression machine. The deans of some faculties conduct preventive conversations with active students, intimidate them and try to exert psychological pressure on them. Since October, there have been police representatives on university campuses to ensure that students do not protest. To justify active students’ repression, university administrations amended the internal regulations. According to the amendments, students are prohibited from holding any protest without permission, which in its turn is a gross violation of Article 20 on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. University administrations do not try to protect their students. Moreover, they call riot police on their students.
Following President Lukashenko’s call to expel protesting students, hundreds of students were removed from universities. However, a few weeks later, the president offered to reinstate some students, as many are “competent people”. The universities were forced to comply with the president’s demand, but on condition, the students promised to write not to participate in the protests in Minsk and other cities. It is worth noting that student activists were not reinstated. Unfortunately, universities in Belarus are entirely subordinated to one person’s will.
The repression reached its culmination on 12 November, when the KGB raided several representatives of student strike committees and other protest organisations. As a result, many students were forced to leave Belarus; 11 students and one professor were detained and charged under the Criminal Code articles. Unfortunately, these people are still in a pre-trial detention centre. They are recognised as political prisoners.
Nevertheless, despite the scale of repression, students do not give up and continue to protest. For example, the Belarussian Students’ Association unites Belarussian universities’ strike committees to organise joint actions, legal assistance, and protection of students’ rights. The protest continues, and students play a significant role in the country’s struggle against the dictatorship.
Source: Telegram channel: https://t.me/peaceful_bse